The loss of the power of taking exercise would be a sore affliction to me. It has been the delight of my retirement to be in constant bodily activity … never damped as the pleasures of reading are, by the question of cui bono? for what object? I hope your health of body continues firm. Your works show that of your mind. The habits of exercise which your calling has given to both, will tend long to preserve them. The sedentary character of my public occupations sapped a constitution naturally sound and vigorous, and draws it to an earlier close. But it will still last quite as long as I wish.
To Dr. Benjamin Rush, August 17, 1811
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Smart leaders exercise the body as well as the mind.
Jefferson had always been physically active. When at Monticello, he would often spend an hour or two on horseback. He wrote to his teenage nephew in 1785, “Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walking very far.”
Here, the 68 year old Jefferson wrote to his 65 year old friend that he delighted in exercise in his retirement. The benefit of doing so was also self-evident, for the preservation of health. He was a strong proponent of exercising both the mind AND the body. He lamented that his years of government service had precluded exercise, thus damaging his body and shortening his life.
“Mr. Lee’s re-enactment of Thomas Jefferson is
educational, informative, thought-provoking, and entertaining … “
Program Coordinator, The Smithsonian Associates, Washington, D. C.
For a speaker who teaches, challenges and entertains,
call Thomas Jefferson: 573-657-2739